Requirements for effective engagement

Members of Optima’s Twin Cities Continuous Improvement Consortium met recently to share their thoughts on effective engagement and creating a culture of continuous improvement (CI).

There is an undeniable correlation between creating a culture of continuous improvement and employee engagement. In any organization, implementing change will be an uphill journey if the company doesn’t embrace the CI concept and look to it as a foundation for growth. As Optima’s Dave Lange wrote in his recent blog post, “to respond effectively, organizations must encourage all employees to actively participate in and grow with the changes that must be made. Acknowledge the obstacles of the past and get started!”

To effectively engage people, representatives from Twin Cities Consortium-member companies made the following recommendations:

  • Gather and use ideas from everyone: Continuous improvement ideas implemented throughout the organization (four-to-fourteen ideas per person implemented per year).
  • Standard work: Utilize it at all levels (especially leader standard work).
  • Leadership engagement: A must in the workplace (including meaningful Gemba walks).
  • Ask don’t tell: Leaders asking questions, not giving answers.
  • Cooperative approach: Improvement processes that “Do it with people, not to them”.
  • Rewards: Continuously recognizing and rewarding engagement.
  • Thoughtful leadership: Humble leaders that serve the organization.
  • Create Executive Leadership Team: Manage the continuous improvement process including the creation of a strategic road map, direction, alignment and action plans.
  • Support people’s growth: Focus on developing people in every way possible.

In addition, the group agreed that to create a thriving continuous improvement culture, the following are required:

  • Leadership commitment.
  • Enterprise – wide effort with everyone engaged (Not just operations).
  • Effective engagement (as defined above).
  • Continuous action orientation utilizing plan, do, check, act approach (PDCA).
  • Systems thinking, process focus that is non-judgmental and non-blaming.
  • Continuous improvement considered to be part of everyone’s job.
  • Trust and mutual respect throughout the organization.
  • Work with the “winners”. Find those individuals who believe and are committed to positive change for the organization.

The Twin Cities Continuous Improvement Consortium is a proven model for developing and sustaining a culture of continuous improvement. For more information, contact Dick Cole at 763-477-8850.

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